- Christopher Tape under pressure to resign over 2001 allegations
- He was recently elected coroner of St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana.
- Child sexual abuse charges against him were dropped due to delay in the start of the trial
A newly elected coroner in Louisiana is under pressure to resign over resurfaced allegations from 2001, when he was accused of child sexual abuse but was never tried.
Dr. Christopher Tape will take office this month as St. Tammany Parish Coroner after running unopposed for the position, which investigates violent crimes, including sexual assaults.
But local councilors are demanding his resignation following alarming decades-old allegations that he spanked his then-girlfriend’s seven-year-old daughter as “punishment” and inappropriately touched the girl.
In 2001, Tape was charged with six counts of third-degree criminal sexual contact with a minor in New Mexico, according to court records obtained by WVUE-TV.
Those charges were eventually dismissed by a judge after prosecutors delayed the trial for 17 months, violating Tape’s constitutional right to a speedy trial.
Christopher Tape is seen in 2001, when he was charged with six counts of third-degree criminal sexual contact with a minor in New Mexico.
Slidell City Councilman Trey Brownfield (above) called for Tape to resign, expressing shock at the allegations that surfaced after last summer’s election.
Now community members and local elected officials are expressing alarm over the allegations and calling for Tape to resign.
The Slidell City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution urging Tape to resign.
“I was completely surprised that this came to light,” said Councilman Trey Brownfield, who proposed the resolution. WWL-TV.
“It’s worrying that he wasn’t caught before he got his job at the coroner’s office, but here we are and we have to face where we are today,” he added.
‘The job of the coroner in St. Tammany Parish is to protect those who were sexually assaulted. We need to make those people feel comfortable,” Brownfield said.
“We need those people to be open and honest and not feel in any way that they are not being heard.”
A message seeking comment from Tape through the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office was not immediately returned Friday.
Court records from the New Mexico case indicate that Tape’s then-girlfriend told police that he had inappropriately touched her 7-year-old daughter.
The girl told investigators that Tape would take off her underwear, spank her with a belt and touch her inappropriately.
Tape (above) will take office this month as St. Tammany Parish coroner after running unopposed for the position, which investigates violent crimes, including sexual assaults.
Police say Tape confirmed in a written statement that he had used a belt on his girlfriend’s daughter “to discipline her” on at least two occasions.
However, he denied touching her inappropriately or sexually.
Tape said his girlfriend told him he could discipline his daughter and that he “felt it was within the standard set by her mother.”
The judge ultimately dismissed all charges, saying prosecutors had delayed the case too long, which was unfair to Tape and violated his right to a speedy trial.
‘As the accused, you have the right to confront your accusers and get this over with. They can’t just drag it out,” WVUE-TV legal analyst Joe Raspanti told the outlet.
“This case was never tried on the merits,” Raspanti said.
‘Did he do something wrong or not?’ she added. “They never came forward to present witnesses and evidence about what he did or didn’t do.”